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What do you mean they let me win? Macho man Putin shows off the judo moves that won him a black belt

By Daily Mail Reporter  23rd December 2010

Getting to grips with the issue: Vladimir Putin grabs an opponent and throws him over his shoulder

Gordon Brown earned a reputation for throwing his weight around during his bout as prime minister but he's got nothing on Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

The black belt politician took part in a televised judo sparring session to inaugurate a sports complex in his home town of St Petersburg.

But as he tossed opponents over his shoulder and slammed them into the canvas for the cameras, he was still not beyond a telling off from his teacher.


Happy landings: Is it an honour to be slammed to the canvas by your Prime Minister?

Anatoly Rakhlin, Putin's judo coach for 15 years, pulled the premier up on his technique.

'Move your hips forward,' barked Rakhlin as Putin tackled another opponent.

'I watched your technique today,' he told his charge later, 'your left hand needs more work.'

However, speaking to reporters after the sparring session Rakhlin was much kinder to the 58-year-old former KGB agent.

'Overall Vladimir Vladimirovich has an excellent technique,' he said.

'God grant that everyone his age was able to do the same thing.'

Limbering up: Putin likes to stretch himself to maintain an action man image

Putin also used the media opportunity to quiz his sports minister on the progress of another of his hobbies in its bid for Olympic recognition.

The Prime Minister also practises sambo, a martial art that is used in training for members of the Russian security forces, but Vitaly Mutko did not have good news for his leader.

'They are not letting us in,' Mutko told Putin.

'It's politics.'

Putin urged Mutko to push the bid harder, and when your boss is bare-chested under his judo uniform and has just defeated all-comers on the mats, it must be quite hard to say no.

The Russian leader prides himself on the image he has cultivated as an international man of action.

Next please: Putin straightens his belt to prepare for another opponent, who is happy to meet the premier

Still enjoying it? Meeting David Cameron was never like this

Some analysts believe that Putin is gearing up for another presidential campaign - the next elections are due in 2012 - to resume the mantle he held between 2000 and 2008.

The televised judo display is the latest in a series of stunts mounted in 2010 to gain exposure and further his action man image.

Already this year, he has fired darts from a crossbow at a whale from a dinghy in choppy waters, flown a fire-fighting jet above raging fire, tagged a polar bear on an Arctic expedition and completed a 10-day drive across Siberia.

Watching Putin in action, you'd have to think twice about standing against him.

Media opportunity: Analysts think Putin's stunts are preparation for another presidential campaign

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